Nov 18, 2010
Butt out at the 35th Annual Great American Smokeout
Put out those butts and join the 80 percent of Michigan residents who do not endanger their health on the occasion of the American Cancer Society’s 35th Annual Great American Smokeout today.
The ACS is encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Quitting smoking is not easy, - I can personally attest to that, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.
An estimated 46 million adults in the United States currently smoke, and approximately half will die prematurely from smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women and more than 80 percent of lung cancers are thought to result from smoking. Smoking causes nearly one in five deaths from all causes.
The American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout event grew out of a 1971 event in Randolph, MA, in which Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. In 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state's first D-Day, or Don't Smoke Day. The idea caught on, and on Nov. 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society succeeded in getting nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. The first national Great American Smokeout was held in 1977.
During the next 34 years the Smokeout was celebrated with rallies, parades, stunts, quitting information, and even "cold turkey" menu items in schools, workplaces, Main Streets, and legislative halls throughout the US.
The Great American Smokeout has been chaired by some of America's most popular celebrities, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Edward Asner, Natalie Cole, Larry Hagman, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, the first "spokespud" Mr. Potato Head, and many others.
November also marks the six month anniversary of smokefree air in Michigan when the ban on smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, went into effect on May 1.
Despite lame attempts to weaken and kill the ban, it is both very successful and popular. In fact, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) just released a survey of 6,900 Michigan residents within 76 Michigan counties on their opinions about the new smokefree air law, and more than 70 percent were in support of the smokefree air law. These results show an increase of public support in comparison to results of a 2009 CSA poll that showed 66 percent of Michigan residents were in favor of smokefree air laws.
In addition, more than 80 percent surveyed agreed that secondhand smoke was a serious health threat to non-smokers. Notably, more than 85 percent of participants stated that they dine out just as much or more often than they did before Michigan’s smokefree air law took effect.
Despite claims and attempts by some bar owners to ignore the law, those criminals are in the minority. The study also monitored the number of complaints reported within the first six months of the law. Results showed just over 550 complaints were made about smoking in smokefree places. This is significantly less than our neighboring state, Ohio, where more than 30,000 complaints were received in the first year of its smokefree air law.
MDCH also monitored compliance of the law in restaurants, bars and bowling alleys throughout the state, and they found that 95 percent of these businesses were compliant with the law.